Sep 26, 2013; Estero, FL, USA; Florida Panthers goaltender Tim Thomas(34) smiles during the first period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at Germain Arena. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Tim Thomas signs with Florida Panthers.

When Tim Thomas announced that he was ready to come back to the NHL, the initial response was a lot of humdrum. He hadn’t played hockey in seventeen months, and a lot of people were doubting his quality. (There were also those amongst you that focused on personal attacks.) As I’ve argued before and will again, would I have a beer with the hockey PLAYER, very likely no. Would I buy the HOCKEY player a case of beer and near-tearfully thank him for the 2010-11 season. Abso-freakin’-lutely!

When goalies started getting hurt during training camp and the pre-season, the Florida Panthers kept rising as a potential team to take on Thomas. It made perfect sense, the Panthers were about to have a change of owners, and frankly the team has been stuck in mediocrity. They needed some fresh blood (or in this case something of a more refined vintage) to give them credibility.  Thomas fits the bill for them perfectly.

Today, the Panthers announced a one-year deal for the former Bruin that will pay him a base salary of two and a half million. They offered in incentive bonuses that could bring the total as high as three and three-quarter million dollars. (This information comes from Bob McKenzie).

The Panthers GM Dale Tallon must feel like he’s won some sort of lottery. He’ll have more of a free reign under the new ownership, and he’ll have a bankable asset like Thomas in the net for his team.

“Tim is a proven winner who we are pleased to have signed,” said Tallon. “He is a fierce competitor who brings to our club a wealth of experience including a Stanley Cup Championship, two Vezina trophies and a Conn Smythe. He is a hardworking, driven and dedicated individual who will help our club achieve future success.”

The downside of this is that the average price of the November 7th home game against the Panthers just went through the roof. Some of you may hate him, or his politics, or the way he bailed on the Bruins, but in the end he got us the Stanley Cup.

 

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